Interventionist Hypocrisy Over U.S. Deaths in Afghanistan

We continue tonight with the presentations regarding the autopsy that the U.S. national-security establishment conducted on the body of President Kennedy. Tonight our speaker will be Dr. David Mantik, a board-certified radiation oncologist who is one of the few people who have been permitted to view the official Kennedy materials at the National Archives. Spending nine days there, he made hundreds of measurements on the Kennedy x-rays and will present his conclusions this evening.


I’m always fascinated by the sacrificial mindset that interventionists have toward the lives of U.S. soldiers who they want to do the intervening. A recent example is Brett Stephens, a columnist for the New York Times. In an op-ed entitled “Abandoning Afghanistan Is a Historic Mistake,” Stephens writes:

The U.S. has lost fewer than 20 service members annually in hostile engagements in Afghanistan since 2015. That’s heartbreaking for those affected, but tiny next to the number of troops who die in routine training accidents worldwide. 

Yes, it’s heartbreaking and the number of deaths might be “tiny” compared to other things but the point that Stephens is making, whether he realizes it or not, is that it’s worth sacrificing the lives of those 20 men every year for the indefinite future. 

The important question is: What are those soldiers being sacrificed for? According to Stephens, they are being sacrificed to prevent the Taliban from retaking control over Afghanistan. He points out that if the Taliban end up winning Afghanistan’s civil war, that will mean tyranny for the Afghan people.

Is the prevention of tyranny for the Afghan people worth sacrificing 20 U.S. soldiers per year indefinitely into the future? Indeed, is it worth sacrificing even one U.S. soldier to accomplish that goal?

Stephens would say yes. He says the prevention of a Taliban victory is that important.

But there is one big problem with Stephens’s reasoning: his own personal commitment to the cause. After all, if preventing a Taliban victory is so important, what is Stephens doing here at home? There is nothing to prevent him from traveling to Afghanistan and offering his services to the Afghan government to assist it in prevailing over the Taliban.

Stephens is only 47 years old. There are plenty of men in the Afghan army that are that age. Why does he choose to remain here at home living a cushy life writing for the New York Times instead of traveling to Afghanistan and helping the U.S.-installed regime prevail in the conflict?

There is one simple reason: Stephens places a higher value on his cushy life here at home than he does on preventing a Taliban victory over there. He’s not willing to give up what he has here at home to risk his life by traveling to Afghanistan and offering his services in order to prevent a Taliban victory.

But when it comes to the lives of those 20 soldiers a year, that’s a different story. In Stephens’s internal ranking of values, the lives of those soldiers are of secondary value compared to preventing a Taliban victory.

We saw this interventionist mindset, of course, during the Vietnam War, when more than 58,000 American men were sacrificed to prevent the communists in North Vietnam from prevailing in that country’s civil war. Interventionists said (and still say) that sacrificing those 58,000-plus American men sacrifice was worth it. In fact, if interventionists had had their way, American soldiers would still be in South Vietnam today, being sacrificed to prevent a communist takeover of South Vietnam.

There are lots of bad things that happen around the world. But that doesn’t mean that American soldiers should be sacrificed to prevent them. If interventionists are outraged over bad things that happen in the world, let’s just let them travel overseas to risk their lives to right the wrongs.

My hunch is that Stephens is one of those people who exhorts everyone to thank the troops for their service and sacrifice. I wonder how many U.S. soldiers can see through this interventionist hypocrisy, especially after 20 years of official lies and deception surrounding the U.S. war on Afghanistan.

This was first published by the Future of Freedom Foundation